The Economics of Burials

As most people realize there are a lot people in Europe and not a whole lot of space. Some would argue this is what caused the colonist policies that founded the United States and much of the new world. Luckily, the birth rates in these countries have declined. Most economists argue a wealth factor while other would say it is a natural way to decrease overpopulation. Either way, this means there are a lot of people dying over thousands of years and that means there are many graves. Now there seems to be a shortage of graves. Time Online is reporting that Britain believes it has come up with a solution:

“Under a test scheme to begin in the new year, local authorities across the country will be allowed to exhume remains and rebury them deeper to create space for further burials on top. In some cases, new inscriptions will be added to the existing headstone to ensure that the heritage of the grave is not destroyed. Damaged or insignificant headstones would be removed and replaced with only the new name.

Last year a government survey showed that burial grounds in England and Wales will become full in about 30 years. In the capital the shortage is more severe. At least three boroughs have run out of space and some cemeteries have less than a decade left.”

This brings up a property rights issue. Do you own your grave? When you purchase the area for you and your loved ones is it yours to keep forever. This is somewhat hard to say because mankind may go on for another million years and that is a lot of dead people.

What would the free market do in this situation if they did not implement this policy? We would imagine that people would find other ways to take care of their families’ remains. One example could be having cremation and those ashes cast out to sea or in a smaller property.

If people were absolutely against this and for regular burials they would have to pay the price. If the demand was high enough, people would sell their house and land to become a cemetery. The free market can even take care of things in the after life.

So is this a policy that the free market should take care of or should we spend tax payers money to move very very old remains? I bet their are a lot them and I would imagine it would take some care.

The rest of the article is here.


Published in: on November 14, 2008 at 10:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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